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  Kahn's "Challenger" (was: Kaufman's)

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Author Topic:   Kahn's "Challenger" (was: Kaufman's)
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 05-24-2006 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Media 8 release
Media 8 To Produce "Challenger" Directed by Philip Kaufman

M8 Entertainment Inc., a leading film entertainment company engaged in the production, financing, acquisition, and worldwide licensing of theatrical feature films in a variety of genres, announced today that its principal subsidiary Media 8 will co-produce, finance, and distribute the feature film project "Challenger." Written by Nicole Perlman, the film will be directed by Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff," "The Unbearable Lightness of Being") and will star Academy Award nominee David Strathairn ("Good Night, and Good Luck") as world-renowned scientist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman. Media 8 Entertainment will co-produce "Challenger" in association with Code Entertainment and Carol Baum Prods. Carol Baum, Rick Berg and Peter Kaufman will serve as producers on the film. Media 8 is selling international rights to the film at the Cannes Film Market.

"This is a fantastic script and it tells an incredibly compelling story - one which most people aren't aware of," said Stewart Hall and Jenna Sanz-Agero, Co-Presidents of Media 8 Entertainment. "We are thrilled to be working with David Strathairn, who will bring an incredible authenticity and integrity to this role."

An investigative drama in the vein of "The Insider," "Challenger" examines the role that Feynman played in the investigation into the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. Motivated in part by his uneasy conscience due to his participation in the Manhattan Project, Feynman is determined to ensure that there will be no institutional cover-up of the negligence that led to the tragedy. "Challenger" uses the investigation as an opportunity to humanize the famously eccentric physicist.

"I'm delighted to be involved with such a smart and relevant project with the perfect director," said Baum. "Feynman is like an investigative journalist going after the bad guy. He is the kind of witty, unpredictable larger than life hero that movies are made for." Added Berg, "This story should resonate wonderfully for audiences today as the public increasingly yearns for greater accountability and honesty from its government."

Philip Kaufman is an acclaimed director and writer. He wrote and directed "The Right Stuff," adapted from Tom Wolfe's novel about the astronauts of the U.S. Mercury 7, which won four Academy Awards in 1984. In 1988 he wrote and directed the acclaimed adaptation of Milan Kundera's novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," which received numerous accolades, including the award for Best Film and Best Director from the National Society of Film Critics, and nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards. Kaufman also wrote and directed "Henry & June," the adaptation of Michael Crichton's "Rising Sun," and directed the sci-fi thriller "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Kaufman also received writing credit on the hit film "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

"Challenger" and Perlman were also recently selected to participate in The Tribeca Film Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Tribeca/Sloan Screenplay Development Program, a screenwriting program launched in early 2002 to develop scripts with scientific and technological themes and/or characters. Renowned physicist Dr. Robert Frosch, head of NASA during the development and flight of the first space shuttle and later a Vice President in charge of Research Laboratories for General Motors, has been chosen as part of the program to consult with Perlman about the scientific content of the script.

Carol Baum is a prolific producer, who has produced such hit films as "Father of the Bride" starring Steve Martin, "I.Q." starring Meg Ryan, "Fly Away Home" starring Jeff Daniels, and the acclaimed independent films "The Good Girl" starring Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal and "My First Mister" starring Albert Brooks. She has also served as an executive producer on numerous films including "Buffy The Vampire Slayer," "Father of the Bride Part II," David Cronenberg's "Dead Ringers" and Noah Baumbach's "Kicking and Screaming."

Rick Berg is a partner at Code Entertainment, an independent film production and management company. Berg is currently developing Ryan Shiraki's comedy "Spring Breakdown" at Warner Bros with Code producing partner Larry Kennar. Code Entertainment is now shooting the John Dahl black comedy "You Kill Me" starring Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni and Luke Wilson. Previously, Berg ran the literary department at Writers & Artists.

ICM represents both Philip Kaufman and David Strathairn.

M8 Entertainment Inc. is a leading film entertainment company engaged in the production, financing, acquisition, and worldwide licensing of theatrical feature films in a variety of genres through its principal subsidiary Media 8 Entertainment. Media 8's Cannes slate includes the forthcoming adaptation of "The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing" starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alec Baldwin, and Richard Dreyfuss, the supernatural thriller "Reaper," "The Horror Chronicles" anthology, and the zombie horror-comedy "Wanted: Undead or Alive" starring Chris Kattan and James Denton. Media 8's recent releases include the New Line Cinema action-drama "Running Scared," written and directed by Wayne Kramer and starring Paul Walker, the critically acclaimed "The Upside of Anger" starring Joan Allen and Kevin Costner, and the Academy Award-winning "Monster." Upcoming Media 8 Entertainment releases include "Lovewrecked," starring Amanda Bynes, Chris Carmack, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Jonathan Bennett, which will be released by The Weinstein Company, and the comedy "Man About Town," written and directed by Mike Binder, and starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Romijn and John Cleese.

Naraht
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From: Oxford, UK
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 05-24-2006 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Naraht   Click Here to Email Naraht     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very, very interesting news. I'm cautiously enthusiastic about the idea--it does sound like a very effective way of framing the whole Challenger story, although I'm worried that it will make NASA out to be the Bad Guys, recklessly killing astronauts and covering up the truth.

Feynman is certainly a great character to build a movie around. Has anyone else here seen "Infinity"? That was really an excellent film.

KC Stoever
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posted 05-24-2006 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An "Infinity" fan here, with Feynman played I thought a little incongruously by Matthew Broderick.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-19-2007 04:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first one-sheet movie poster for Challenger (via Wikipedia):

FFrench
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posted 08-20-2007 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Only one man (Richard Feynman) was determined to uncover the truth.
I wonder how Sally Ride, who served on the commission with Feynman and the others, would feel about the "only one man" choice of wording too...

Naraht
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From: Oxford, UK
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posted 08-21-2007 02:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Naraht   Click Here to Email Naraht     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had feared that this would be framed as a Feynman-versus-corrupt-insiders-at-NASA story, and it sounds as if that is exactly what is happening. Uncovering the truth is generally more of a group endeavour than Hollywood would have you believe, and that was certainly the case when it came to the Challenger investigation.

Still, any movie starring Feynman is likely to be an interesting movie.

KSCartist
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posted 08-21-2007 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I enjoy movies "based on a true story" because I like to consider myself well read and like to compare the movie to actual history. So I was looking forward to this.

But this poster has already ruined it for me. Phil Kaufman trashed the reputations of Gus Grissom and VP Johnson in The Right Stuff. Looks like more of the same.

I'll still go see it and hope that I am wrong.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-21-2007 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm following up on a lead that suggests that:
  1. this poster may never see theater walls;

  2. the slogan on the poster may no longer accurately reflect what the film may portray; and,

  3. the principal(s) identified on the poster may no longer be connected with the film.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 08-21-2007 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that this poster will be limited in issue -- first posters usually are.

I wonder what the source materials are?

I doubt it will be "What do you care Professor Feynman?" -- which was a terrific book about his Challenger days based on his notes.

David Strathairn is a great choice to play the great USC professor. I usually like his work (he made a great Oppenheimer), and Kaufman did a great film in "Right Stuff" based upon Tom Wolfe's book.

I will see it and I await seeing it with great anticipation. But I will wait until I see it to pass judgment.

FFrench
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From: San Diego
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posted 08-21-2007 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim:
Kaufman did a great film in "Right Stuff" based upon Tom Wolfe's book.
Great as in - entertaining? Or accurate?

I really enjoyed the movie when it came out. But it gave me impressions of the personalities of people like Yeager and (in particular) Cooper that, I discovered in later years, were WAY off the truth.

I'm quite understanding of movies like "Apollo 13" that amp up some tensions and events to keep the story going. But Kaufman's "Right Stuff" movie, as Tim rightly says above, trashed the reputations of some people who were no longer around to defend themselves, simply for dramatic effect - or, in most cases, for cheap laughs. Wolfe's book was masterfully subtle with some controversies, and Kaufman had no such subtlety.

It certainly makes me wonder whether this movie is going to go down the same road.

Naraht
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From: Oxford, UK
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 08-22-2007 02:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Naraht   Click Here to Email Naraht     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by E2M Lem Man:
I doubt it will be "What do you care Professor Feynman?" -- which was a terrific book about his Challenger days based on his notes.
That's actually titled "What do you care what other people think?" His other semi-autobiographical book is "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman."

Kevmac
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From: College Station, TX
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posted 08-22-2007 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevmac   Click Here to Email Kevmac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When ever I see the words "Based on a true story" or "Inspired by a true story" for a movie or TV show about an actual event, I watch knowing that some, to much, of what I am seeing is dramatized in true Hollywood style. We're all familiar with how most movies like Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff were made to appeal to all factions,and sometimes really missed the mark on "true". The producers and directors add to the truth to make it more interesting and dramatic. I look forward to the movie, but will sit and wonder "...is that the way it really happened?"

E2M Lem Man
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From: Los Angeles CA. USA
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posted 08-23-2007 01:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I too am concerned about how Kaufman will portray the personality of the man and the situation of the times.

Dr. Feynman is no longer around to defend how he is portrayed. The Rogers Commission will no doubt be shortchanged, as this seems to only be about one man.

Plus, how will the whistleblowers be represented? They were the true heroes - if they were astronauts or Thiokol workers - they could not stand to see how the management was downplaying the true reasons for the accident.

ea757grrl
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From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 08-24-2007 06:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll likewise watch what happens, with cautious interest. I'd hate for this to become all about one person, because if you watch any of the Rogers Commission hearing segments on the Spacecraft Films "Challenger" DVD set, you see a group of extraordinary people at work, and it would be a shame if they got shortchanged.

Plus, anyone who's read any of the books or articles by any of the Commission members in which they talk about their work on the panel (such as Feynman's "WDYC," Joe Sutter's recent "747," and I'll also include "First Man" since it was done with the help of Neil Armstrong) will know that there was plenty of drama and human interest in the story as it actually happened, without the need for Hollywood embellishment.

I'm a big fan of Dr. Feynman, believe me...but there were many other really bright lights on that commission. I would sure hate for their contributions to be diminished in the name of drama.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 04-02-2008 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Variety:
Perlman just rewrote her script "Challenger, a project about Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman's investigation into the 1986 Space Shuttle tragedy. Originally set up at Media 8 with "The Right Stuff" helmer Phil Kaufman, "Challenger" now has Nathaniel Kahn ("My Architect") attached to direct, and it will go out to financiers shortly.

kr4mula
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From: Cinci, OH
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posted 04-02-2008 01:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder if Perlman is re-writing her Challenger script to include a greater role for Armstrong, given her access to that body of material now? I've heard that Neil had a greater role in the investigation than was generally publicized - not surprising given his low-key tendencies, particularly in the shadow of more forthright personalities.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-02-2008 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have heard that the re-write was driven by the feedback to the first script by Feynman's family, so while its possible that the script will benefit from Perlman's Armstrong research, I think the primary focus was placing Feynman in the proper historical context.

Naraht
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From: Oxford, UK
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 04-04-2008 05:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Naraht   Click Here to Email Naraht     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fingers crossed that this will actually go ahead. I had just about lost hope.

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